During the year of 1898, on April 25th, the United States declared war on Spain after the Battleship Maine in Havana Harbor sunk, this took place on February 15, 1898. By the end of the 19th century America began to look further ahead and became interested in establishing an overseas empire. A few reason for this decision was because American corporations had begun to grow extremely fast since the ending of the Civil War.
By the time the 1890’s came around they felt and believed that in order to continue prospering they needed more customers than just those within in the borders of the United States, in other words they wanted overseas clientele. Another reason was due to a book written by Alfred Thayer Mahan in the year 1890. Alfred’s book was called The Influence of Sea Power Upon History. The point of view of this book was to informed and argue that all of the powerful countries in history had been nations with large, powerful and strong Navy’s. Therefore, the United States strengthen their Navy to protect the transoceanic canal that went through Central America.
In 1868 Cuban’s rebelled against over their Spanish lords/masters. The reason for this huge riot was because the Cubans demanded for the island slaves to be emancipated in other words to be set free. Aside from the Cubans demand of freedom of slaves, they also argued for a self-government. All this riot and rebellion ceased in the year of 1878, when Spain made a promise to grant the demands that the Cubans were demanding. Unfortunately, the Spaniards took way too long to implement any of the changes they had promised and once again violence and more rebellion eruption in 1895.
Another huge issue was the Wilson Gorman Tariff Act that was established in 1894. This tariff was to raise taxes on import Cuban sugar and tobacco. This increase of taxes resulted in severe financial and economic hardship for Cuba. Later after many other hardships along the way, and just when Cubans thought things could not get any worse on February 15, 1898 the USS Battleship Maine exploded in Havana harbor. This resulted in the death of 260 sailors. Maine, had been sent there to protect Americans and their interests.
The influence of the yellow journalist, they used their newspapers to stoke war fever for their favor and be able to sell many more newspapers. At times their stories out of Cuba were true and honest and at other times their stories were invented with lies. Their purpose for this was to encourage and inspire pity for the Cubans, hatred for the Spanish and a desire for the Unites States to help emancipate the Cuban people. Many Americans sincerely felt pity for the Cubans and their major struggle against Spain, and thought that a war against Spain would be the correct thing to do. Another purpose was to also protect American investment in Cuba, many investors wanted to intervene in Cuba’s conflict with Spain in order to be able to secure the best economic interest there.
The Spanish American war, was actually not that long, it lasted approximately a little less than four months, ending in August of 1898 with the Treaty of Paris and the Spanish surrendered. The Treaty of Paris was an agreement that involved the surrendering of all of the remaining Spanish empire, in particular Cuba, and ceding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. This treaty was signed on December 10, 1898 and this officially ended the Spanish American War.
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